The morning after our annual cookie bake (this time held at our northern house), my kindergarten-aged grandniece Lisette said, "Marise took my toy and I was playing with it."
I glanced over her head. Lisette's younger sister Marise was happily choo-chooing our wooden train around the living room floor. I glanced back at Lisette, who was looking up at me with pleading blue eyes.
Mothers? I said to my sister and sister-in-law who sat at the kitchen table with their daughters. The grandnieces' parents had stepped out for a bit. Any advice?
My professional-counselor-and-mother-of-three-girls sister, after learning of the issue said, "Marise, how about you give the train back to Lisette since she was playing with it first. After two minutes, then you can play with it. Okay?"
No reply from the living room, just a faint choo-choo as the train left the station. Lisette's eyes were boring holes in my head. I guess it was up to me to come up with a solution.
I found Marise in my writing room, guiding the train around the dog crate. Hey Marise, I said, reaching for the train. Let's let Lisette play with this for a while, okay? I handed the train to Lisette; she and the toy left the room at warp speed. Marise barely had time to realize it was gone. Her face turned sour.
But I had an idea.
Works on puppies...
Marise, I have something just for you, I said, opening the closet door. On the top shelf was a basket of little stuffed animals. Here, would you like to play with this?
Marise's face sweetened as she took the basket. She reached in, pulled out a pink fuzzy animal and said, "A flamingo!" At least, that's what I thought she said, because after all, that's what it was.
Problem solved, for now. I dashed back into the kitchen where I was trying to finish baking the cookies I never got to the night before. A few moments later I heard little voices wafting in from the living room. I peeked. Huddled on the floor together were Marise and Lisette, taking a train trip with all the stuffed animals.
Lisette and Marise have fun with the dog toys, too. Gus loves hanging out with them.